Caption: Some of the residents and stakeholders listen attentively at the launch of the Sawyer LFMC held in Sawyers, Trelawny, recently.

Draft Forest Policy proposes regulated access for communities

A proposal under the Draft Forest Policy, if accepted by the legislature, could see the provision of regulated access to communities living on the fringe of the forests managed by the Forestry Department.

This is according to Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change. He was while speaking at the launch of the Sawyers Local Forest Management Committee recently in Trelawny.

“Our energies must be focused on reforestation, not just in the Cockpit but in all reserves islandwide. That is why we have crafted a new Forest Policy for Jamaica which will give community stakeholders such as the Sawyers LFMC greater access to utilize our forest areas in a sustainable manner,” he said.

Minister Pickersgill announced that the new Policy is to go before Cabinet soon for affirmation and following Cabinet approval, a series of public consultations will be held to discuss the contents with the various stakeholders.

He also noted that the policy seeks to establish national priorities for our forests, the role of the forests in supporting rural livelihoods and uses and also in mitigating against Climate Change. He added that work is also to begin shortly on revising the Forest Act of 1996 to ensure it provides the necessary legal support for the policy. “The revision will make this important piece of legislation more broad-based and current. It will open the way for the Forestry Department to be even more impactful in carrying out its mandate,” he said.

The Sawyers LFMC in Trelawny is the thirteenth LFMC to be launched by the Forestry Department. The establishment of the Committee also forms part of the Agency’s achievements under the current European Union funded Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Project. The objective of the 30-month project is to assist Jamaica to adapt to climate change as well as to contribute to the resilience and sustainable development of vulnerable communities.

The EU project is being implemented jointly with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Meterological Services of Jamaica, The Environmental Management Division in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change. It is being jointly managed by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) office.

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For more information, please contact:

Public Relations and Corporate Communication Branch
Forestry Department
173 Constant spring Road
Kingston 8
Tel: (876) 924 - 2667/8